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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

What can we do about Afghanistan?

On Sunday, Aug. 15, news organizations across the globe broke the news that the Taliban had overtaken Afghanistan. An article from AP News describes the situation, titled “Taliban sweep into Afghan capital after government collapses.” (1) This was seemingly the final frontier as the Taliban finally captured the capital of Afghanistan. As the Taliban prepares to rule Afghanistan, we may feel helpless in this situation. As Westerners, and college students in particular, we often find ourselves disconnected from situations involving international relations. However, there are certain things we can do to ensure that we are aware of situations and use our positions to help the plight of those who are less fortunate than us.

Do your own research.

While it may be easy and convenient to read the headlines from Apple News or listen to a friend’s political analysis, doing your own research cannot be understated. When it comes to matters of international relations and international conflicts, gaining an international perspective is key in understanding the broad context of the situation. Don’t limit yourself to American news organizations such as ABC, CBS or Bloomberg. Expand your political sources to include international sources so you can understand a wide scope of opinions. Popular international publications such as France24, DW News (Germany) and South China Morning Post provide international news in English. You must keep in mind that all news organizations have some biases associated with their news coverage, so understanding these biases is extremely important, particularly in matters involving the toppling of governments.

The United States is not innocent in this matter.

The time the United States has spent in Afghanistan makes this war the longest in U.S. history. As the NY Times reports, “On Aug. 30, the United States removed all military forces from Afghanistan — ending America’s longest war nearly 20 years after it began.” (2) In addition to the time spent in Afghanistan, the United States has also spent a huge sum of money in attempts to free the nation from terrorism. According to Forbes, “The United States has spent more than $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan. That’s $300 million dollars per day, every day, for two decades.” (3) These numbers are absolutely bizarre considering the United States still lags behind European nations in social services it provides to its citizens such as healthcare, paid leave, and many other basic services. Yet, the United States was able to spend the net worth of the 30 richest billionaires in America combined, and in the end the Taliban still assumed control of Afghanistan, even after two decades of American involvement.

The United States is not some holy savior that can free any nation of terrorism. From Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and across the world, the United States is notorious for its military involvement across the globe. This involvement is a result of the military-industrial complex that the US has exhibited throughout its long, storied history. Understanding and condemning this constant military involvement that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of American lives is a major step in impacting international conflicts across the world.

As college students, we may feel helpless against the huge movements occurring on the international stage. Educating yourself is a huge step forward in making an impact on international issues. Without this education, we may continue to feel helpless against major geopolitical movements. Understanding the underlying factors at play will make you a more informed voter and a better global citizen.

  1. https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-taliban-kabul-bagram-e1ed33fe0c665ee67ba132c51b8e32a5

  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/learning/lesson-of-the-day-the-us-war-in-afghanistan-how-it-started-and-how-it-ended.html

  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/hanktucker/2021/08/16/the-war-in-afghanistan-cost-america-300-million-per-day-for-20-years-with-big-bills-yet-to-come/?sh=dcc40577f8dd

About the Contributor
Matthew Reiad, Opinions Editor